What happens when a punk rock dad partners with his hip-hop artist son? The early front-runner for kid’s album of the year, of course! Tim and Jakob Frazier joined forces with some of Birmingham’s best musicians to create a world of pure imagination that is explored by The Mighty Jarkobian and His Conglomerate of Sound. The fun-filled album explores as many musical genres as it does light-hearted themes. Hip-hop songs about barking dragons, folk ballads about oak trees, and pop-punk hits about petting puppies are just a few of the treasures found in this album that’s an entertaining listen for the entire family.
Both Fraziers have played music from a young age. Tim learned guitar around the age of 12 and made sure that Jakob began at an even earlier time in life. “We deliberately put him in piano classes at a young age,” Tim recalls, “Before he showed any interest in music, I knew people in high school who had taken piano at six years old and knew how to play - and didn’t know how they knew how to play but they knew how to play. He’s a sponge at six years old, and it worked.” Jakob was writing and making his own music in his early teenage years, but this album marks the first collaboration between father and son - unless you count Tim singing Skid Row while Jakob was dressed as Lil Wayne during a Halloween Karaoke Birthday bash.
While The Mighty Jarkbobian and His Conglomerate of Sound is a newly released project, some of the songs such as “Oak Tree” have been in the works for multiple decades. That song began when Tim was 19 and working at Anderson Coffee. A coworker of his thought “Headaches and Hemorrhoids” would make for a funny country song, so Tim wrote a little chord progression and song lyrics for it. Around 2017, Jakob would transform it into a pop-punk synth-heavy skate song but it wasn’t until a children’s album was decided upon that the song we love came to full fruition.
Some of the songs even feature third-generation family members, such as Jakob’s daughter getting co-writing credit for the song “The Bumplebee” while also sparking the events that would create the album. She was running around the house in a bee costume one day in 2019 and turned a corner at the same time as her dad, then at the age of three uttered a pun that would motivate a song and truly kick off the idea for an entire album: “Oops, I guess I’m a BUMPlebee.” “I thought it was the funniest thing,” Jakob recollects, “First of all I’m insanely proud because that’s the kind of joke I would make and clearly I’m doing something right. Then I was like ‘I could make a song out of that’ and made a little progression then messaged (Tim) like ‘What if we made kid’s songs?”
The father-son duo got to work on the project at the end of 2019, but it would soon be delayed by the pandemic. After a pause on recording (and an extension in writing), they were able to record with Les Nuby at Ol Elegante Studio in August of 2022. They had a solid twelve songs evenly split between the two on creative ideas, with Jakob doing most of the writing and Tim tracking most of the drums. Some of the songs weren’t nearly as hashed out as others, but the elder Frazier did what any drum legend would do - figure it out to a click track. “There’s a guy named Dave Grohl. He’s been in a couple of bands. That’s how he works sometimes,” Tim laughs.
The album is a high-quality creation, but the main purpose was to have a good time amongst themselves while creating a good time for others. This afforded their musical collective the opportunity to loosely build on the song’s groundwork during a few different takes in the studio for most songs. “That’s part of what I wanted this album to be. Sometimes you can capture great things when you don’t plan it super hard and I knew we weren’t going to have time - or really money - to play it super hard. We’re going to do the punk rock thing and do a few takes and we’ll pick the best ones and magic can happen on those takes. That’s what I was hoping to capture with a couple of these songs and I feel that we did.”
Tim and Jakob’s chemistry and creativity is the magic fairy dust that makes the album such a gem, but the collective of musicians that forms the conglomerate took things to a whole other level. “We didn’t want it to just be the two of us. The name is The Mighty Jarkobian and His Conglomerate of Sound and the idea of the conglomerate of sound is that we pull all of these resources and all of these really cool people to be a part of it,” Jakob explains,” We have several guests on the album. Jones Willingham, Jackie Lo played flute on a couple of songs, Adam Guthrie of Pain and Salvo did banjo on “Oak Tree”, Les while he was recording us laid down some guitar for “Boogie in My Britches”.
In addition to Jakob’s daughter helping write “The Bumplebee”, his mom was the original quoter of ‘Boogie in My Britches” and his wife conceptualized and has writing credits on “Clean Floor Dance”. That song also features a saxophone solo from the great Kevin Carter that blew the recording studio away. “When Kevin came in there and played it Les’s jaw was on the floor. He was like ‘Are y’all gonna be bringing people like this in all the time?’. He had come from his bank job - Les had seen him in the bank that day. He goes in there and he just - I can tell when someone plays sax good or they just play sax - and this guy plays sax good,” Tim shares.
“Could You Imagine…?” is another instant classic that features hip-hop legends G.I. Magus, inkline of Nerves Baddington, and Lauren Michell along with scratches from DJ Jeff C of The Green Seed and Les on bass. “The fun thing about ‘Could You Imagine…?’ is we all wrote our verses separately, so for us to have the cohesion - it just worked together in a way that you could not plan,” Jakob recalls. Tim remembers where he was when he heard inkline’s verse and thought to himself “Well that took it to the next level.” Every musician had a similar impact. Lauren recorded her verse in the studio while the group enjoyed some Uncle G’s and immediately won the room over. “She was recording and Les looked over at us like ‘We all know that that’s the coolest person in the studio, right?’ and I was like ‘Yes, absolutely.’”
The album is simply meant to provide a good time for kids and parents alike while letting a father and son work out different parts of their musical brains from their hip-hop and punk usuals. “This is fun and it’s goofy. The tagline of it is ‘Your parent’s favorite children’s band.’ We want it to be songs that kids want to listen to and adults don’t hate to put on repeat,” Jakob shares, “The whole point was not to be educational but to be silly, because sometimes you need to be silly. There are other people who are making educational children’s content. We don’t have to be another one of those - and that also would make our job harder.”
“There are several nods to pop culture and stuff throughout the whole album that only someone who knows would know,” Tim laughs, “Some of the songs stem from our references that we say all of that time. He did watch a lot of SpongeBob growing up and we reference stuff from his childhood often.” Then there are songs that make it joyfully clear how much fun the pair had. The dog-filled enthusiasm of their leading single “I.J.W.P.S.D.”. The unplanned synchronized beatboxing on “Make a Song.” The orchestral wonders on “The Mighty Jarkobian Theme, part 1”. Tim joining Jakob on the hip-hop track “New Shoes”. A good time was had at Ole Elegante, and we all get to join in on the fun.
“We spent a lot more time on it than you would think someone would spend on songs for kids,” Tim shares, “They’re good songs. It’s not me tooting my own horn - Jakob wrote some great songs and we made them all into what we felt was presentable. We’re not trying to win a Grammy. We’re not trying to be Taylor Swift. We didn’t want to tweak it too hard but we wanted to tweak it, and I feel we got it just right. I’m really happy with what we’ve done and hopefully people listen to it, like it, and want to purchase it.”
The Fraziers have plenty of plans for The Mighty Jarkobian and His Conglomerate of Sound. More music videos, CDs to be released around town, smaller shows, theatrical productions, and new albums. They already have voice memos on their phones with song ideas about chicken nuggets. For now, though, the biggest accomplishments have been hearing their own kids and friends' families share how much they enjoy the music. “I would put money on when I go home tonight before they get in bed, my son will be like ‘Can we watch the puppy video?’, Jakob shares as he reflects on the benefits of the record. (Writers note: We followed up and that situation did indeed occur just a couple of hours after the interview).
A father and son set out to do something fun for all in the musical world, and we would say we’re all the better for it. They’ve come a long way since their Skid Row and Lil Wayne days and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
Cover graphic by Chloe B. from Curbside Studios